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June 14, 2012 / Tracey

Author Patrick White

Author Patrick White

Today I watched a documentary which aired on the ABC on 22 May 2012, entitled: Patrick White: Read Me When I’m Dead? and have been thinking about this Australian author since.

I’ve always known he was the only Australian writer to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (which took place in 1973) however I haven’t been an active reader of his work.

I studied A Fringe of Leaves at University, but I remember finding it really hard to get into and I don’t think I read it right through to the end to be honest.

Patrick White at Centennial Park
by Brett Whiteley (1979-1980)

One opinion expressed in the documentary is that White’s work is inaccessible to the average reader, too intellectual, and consequently he is widely unknown to the general public. 

As a lover of books and supporter of Australian authors I find myself wondering if I should give White’s work another chance.  It’s been a significant number of years since I failed to engage with A Fringe of Leaves and he wrote 12 novels in total so there’s bound to be something more to my liking isn’t there?  And of course, there’s the recent posthumous publishing of The Hanging Garden this year, albeit unfinished.

I’d love to hear from others about their favourite Patrick White novel, or any advice for first timers like myself, about the best place to start.

That’s my four bucks!



Leave a Comment
  1. Sam / Jul 13 2012 7:05 pm

    As an opinion of a person who read three Patrick White books, – Voss- A Fringe of Leaves- Flaws in the GlassI can tell you that Voss is vastly superior to A Fringe of Leaves. Am now reading The Tree of Man, and it is looking very promising.Best regards from Belgium

  2. Tracey / Jul 20 2012 6:23 am

    Hi Sam, thanks for your input. I wonder what you mean by vastly superior though, was the prose in 'Voss' more refined or did you find it a better read than A Fringe of Leaves?

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